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Finding Cures For Tropical Diseases: Is Open Source An Answer?

borations, we propose a website where volunteers could search and annotate shared databases. Individual pages would host tasks such as searching for new targets, finding chemicals to attack known targets, and posting data from related chemistry and biology experiments. Volunteers could use chat rooms and bulletin boards to announce discoveries and debate future research directions. Over time, the most dedicated and proficient volunteers would become leaders." The key to TDI's success, they argue, is that any discovery would be off patent. An open-source license would keep all discoveries freely available to researchers and--eventually--manufacturers. The absence of patents, and the use of volunteer staff, would contain the costs of drug development. Ten years ago, say the authors, TDI would not have been feasible. "The difference today is the vastly greater size and variety of chemical, biological, and medical databases; new software; and more powerful computers. Researchers can now identify promising protein targets and small sets of chemicals using computation alone."
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Source:Science Daily, PLoS Medecine


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